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A question of Humanity

I promise that this isn’t going to be an enraged rant. (Just wanted to get that out of the way.)

Now.

Many of you who follow me on facebook know this past Saturday I was at my local gym (Initials of which are PF – you figure it out!) and I had an accident. The gym was packed because it was a Saturday morning and folks who don’t get a chance to come during the weekdays were all there. I was walking on the treadmill at a slow pace of 3.0 mph when my foot slipped and I fell backward. Now, like every single other patron of this gym I didn’t have that automatic STOP  link attached to me – the one you clip on your shirt so that if something happens the machine automatically stops. Because of that, when I fell, the machine….didn’t stop. I fell to my knees and reached out for the handrails to try and support myself and pull myself up, but because the machine didn’t stop my body kept on moving backwards and I couldn’t support my weight, so my arms fell from the handrails, wrenching my left arm seriously, and the machine basically spit me out of its back and landed me flat on my stomach.

Yeah, I know… A Peggy-Lucy moment if ever there was one.

But…

There I was on my big belly, flat out in view of the entire gym including the staff at the front desk and there were three people all lined up next to me on their own treadmills. Do you think anyone stopped what they were doing to help me? To ask if I was okay? Heck, to even laugh in embarrassment for me?

Nope. Not one person – nada, niente, zilch- lifted a hand to assist me. They all saw me fall because I made eye contact with them while I was on the ground. But not one person stopped what they were doing to give me aid.

Who does that? Or in this case, doesn’t? Who doesn’t see someone sprawled on the ground, obviously just suffering a fall or accident and doesn’t even ask, much less off to help, if you’re okay?

When did we turn into a society who doesn’t give a flying fart about one another? Seriously, when did this happen?

My husband was on the other side of the gym, hidden from view, so he didn’t even know about the fall until I told him, so he gets a pass because if he’d seen it he would have been Jonny on the spot to help.

Now before you ask, there was a mix of age groups in the gym that day. Some younger than me, some my age, some older. I would have at least expected the older folks, who were raised with manners, to offer some help, but even they didn’t.

I was raised to hold doors open for the people behind me; I was raised to say please and thank you and excuse me when speaking to others; I was raised to offer my seat on subways and busses to pregnant women, elderly people, and anyone with a disability.

I was raised right.

Apparently, people aren’t raised right anymore. What is this world going to turn into in the future if we can’t even ask if someone who’s injured is okay? If we don’t even have it in us to offer sympathy or aid? Just what the heck kind of society are we turning into???

I guess I should be happy no one did the most common thing of all these days and film my fall and the aftermath with their attached-to-their-bodies-at-all-times phone/cameras and then post it to Youtube and every other social media outlet.

So thankful for small favors ( sarcasm inserted.)

Today I have a doctor’s appointment to see if I tore my bicep muscle in my left arm. The past two days have been agony and I can’t lift or move my arm without wanting to pass out from the pain.

I wonder if anyone in the doctor’s office will hold a door open for me?

~peg

 

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#PublicSpeaking #AAUW

I love that quote. Just sayin’.

So, Friday, April 26, I will be part of a talking panel for the Keene Area AAUW – the American Association of University Woman – annual “Evening with Authors.” I’ll be one of three authors talking about all things writing, publishing, marketing. My panel-mates will be Michelle Arnosky Sherburne, a Vermont historian who writes about The Underground Railroad and Thomas Farmen who writes about his dog, Bessie.

Talk about an eclectic panel.

If you are in the area, please consider joining us. The event will be held at the STONE ARCH VILLAGE COMMUNITY ROOM at 835 Court Street in Keene, starting at 6pm. All the authors ( including moi) will be selling and authographing our books at the end of the talk.

The purpose of the author event is to raise funds for the AAUW’s scholarship program. The Keene area branch gives 5 annual local scholarships to Antioch University, River Valley Community College, Keene High school and 2 ( one undergrad, one graduate) to Keene State college. there will be refreshments ( always a plus, in my book!)

If you want to get tickets, or ask a question, you can call 603-876-3913

I hope to see as many of my friends and readers as I can!! I hate public speaking and it’s always easier for me if I see a face I know attached to a body who’s read one of my books! Hee hee. That was a little muddy of  misplaced modifier, but you all get what  I mean.

Be well and hope to see you Friday at 6pm.

~Peg

And here’s a little present. The fabulous Joan Reeves just produced a video trailer for my Deerbourne Inn Novella HOPE’S DREAM. Check it out ( and buy the book if you haven’t! Hee hee)

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On Girlfriends, a weekend away, and how not to take a selfie

I did something I rarely do this weekend: took off for a girls birthday getaway. Busy work schedules, life and geographic dispersement makes it difficult for me to hang out with my girlfriends as much as I’d like to. So this past weekend three of us finally managed to plan an entire two days of away time, just us, to hang, eat, exercise, shop, eat some more, and shop until we dropped.

Did I mention we shopped?
The first warm and sunny weekend of Spring allowed us to visit Newburyport and Portsmouth, NH, two gorgeous New England-y towns, rife with fun, food, tourist sites, and – you guessed it – shops!

From an old fashioned General Store that had more candy than even I could eat (!) to a housewares store that featured some of the best tea towels I’ve ever read:

   

 

Remember the specialty store SPENCERS? I haven’t seen one in a while now, but I found what I think is an upscale Spencers –  lots of funny stuff but not so dirty ( and by dirty I mean sexually explicit!)

When we weren’t eating and shopping we were walking along the beautiful coast line New Hampshire possesses. Yes, we are mostly landlocked, but we do have several miles of gorgeous coastline. And it was during our attempts at getting selfies with the beautiful water and sky horizon that I learned a valuable lesson about taking selfies, namely: I can’t!!

My girlfriend in the middle looks like one of those fashion DON’Ts from the old Glamour magazine back page, but that’s really my hand holding the camera up. This taught me that in future we need a selfie-stick to take pictures when we are looking toward the sun. And what’s with the prune face on me?? I think I was talking but who knows.

These are better, no?

One of my favorite places to shop is a bookstore. Any bookstore, and boy did we find some good ones. Here are a few of my newest Must-reads:

          

    

 

What a relaxing, fun, stress-free getaway! This was truly the theme of the entire two days:

I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my girlfriends…and I don’t want to ever consider it.

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#L&SR #WednesdayBloggingChallenge 4.10.19

Today’s blog prompt, Characters I never want to meet, was a hard one for me to wrap my head around. I wondered if it meant characters who are already out in the book reading world that are so heinous and unlikable I wouldn’t want to waste a breath on meeting them. Or… if it’s people who haven’t been written yet, just little nuggets of character profiles.

A conundrum to be sure.

I’m gonna go with my first thought that it’s people who are already alive and walking around in the pages of books who I simply want to avoid at all costs.

Hannibal Lecter for example. I mean, would YOU want to meet a cannibal? I’m kinda chubby and I know he’d be thinking LUNCH whenever he looked at me.  Pass.

Jack Torrance is another one who’d I’d rather not shake hands with. He could have an axe behind his back, at the ready to whip it out and go-a-chopping-crazy. No thanks. Pass.

I’m thinking Amy Dunne is a gal I’d rather not meet up for a chat and a cuppa at the local Starbucks for so many reasons, but the biggest one is anyone who has that expressive a resting bitch face is the kind of person you know is planning 50 ways to make your life miserable while she’s chomping at a biscotti. Yeah…BIG PASS!

And does anyone REALLY want to meet Voldemort? I know I don’t. Creep factor aside, there’s that whole moving to dark side thing that’s so unappealing. Pass. Big Pass. Never-gonna-happen-pass.

Maybe the reason I stick to writing romance is because none of my villains are terrifying. Just nasty and petty. I can deal with nasty and petty. Terrifying? Not so much.

Let’s see who some of the other author/bloggers participating in this challenge want to avoid. L&SR

And please don’t avoid me or my characters! We’re nice people. Really. You can find us here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

And I can’t forget the OKRWA 2018 Award video

 

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How cool is this?

OKRWA International Digital  Awards Winner’s trailer 

Check out whose book is the first to be shown on this impressive list!!! hee hee

and if you’re looking for me anyplace else, look here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

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#L&SR #WednesdayBlogChallenge 3.27.19

 

Today’s prompt are your favorite Websites/Podcasts/Blogs.

I’ll admit this straight up: I don’t listen to podcasts. In all reality, I don’t know how. Do you listen on a computer? Your phone? Never mind- don’t tell me. I don’t have the spare time anyway.

I do follow a lot of blogs, though, and read the posts that are put up.

My favs include:

Joanne Guidoccio’s blog ,  On the Road to Reinvention

Katie O’Sullivan’s Blog:  Read, Write, Repeat

The Romance Gems Blog ( which I write for once a month) : Talking, Laughing, Writing, Reading

Websites in which I can get lost in include:

One Stop for Writers : Onestopforwriters.com ~these are the fabulous folks behind The Emotional Thesaurus, et al, books.

All the Kissing. Allthekissing.com

Love Romance reads : LoveRomaceReads.com

Long and Short Reviews : L&SR.com

And NNLights Bookheaven : A husband and wife book blogging, book writing, book promotions team that does it all!

As a writer my surfing time is limited, so I seek refuge in the sites and people I love and know best!

Since this  is a blog challenge, let’s see what the other authors blogging today have to say. Long and Short Reviews WednesdayBloggingChallenge.

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The struggle is real…

I know we’ve all heard that saying, and most have us have probably quoted it a time or three. But the underlying meaning is true: I’ve been really struggling for some time and am finally able to give voice to it.

It started last year when I had a bit of mini-breakdown. Several personal things were happening to me all at once and in the span of one week I was responsible for so many things that I simply couldn’t function, so I stopped; functioning. I didn’t talk, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t write. ( I did eat, tho, so once again losing weight wasn’t something I was struggling with – because I wasn’t!! Losing weight, I mean!)

Any hoo.

The situations, slowly, resolved, and I thought I was back on top of my game again.

Yeah, not so much as it turns out.

For the past two months I’ve been struggling with wanting to continue on my writing journey. Despite several efforts and the best intentions on my part, I still haven’t been able to find an agent who would want to take me on as a client. You’d think 15 books published traditionally would count for something. Apparently, not.

One of my publishers dropped me, and the editor I thought I had a really good relationship with won’t return my emails. Any of them. I even emailed her assistant who assured me she’d let the editor know I wanted to “speak” to her. Nothing.

I write in such a glutted market – contemporary romance – and trying to garner any kind of attention means I spend hours daily on social media, talking up my books and trying to make connections with readers. It’s exhausting – mentally, physically, spiritually. And let’s not forget financially. All my marketing, despite being traditionally published, is arranged for and paid by me. And as my mother used to tell me, money doesn’t grow on trees. I know that saying is true because I live in the woods and my diminishing funds aren’t being replaced by leaf currency.

The kicker came when the RITA finalists were announced last week. I submitted three books from last year that I wrote, one of which I really thought I had a shot at finaling with because it’s gotten nothing but 5 star reviews – most from people who don’t know me personally, either. Alas, March 21 came and went and I received no phone call.  Now I know what everyone says when you don’t get the call: it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer or the book wasn’t good. It simply means 5 judges thought other books were better.

Yeah, you know what? That doesn’t make me feel any better.

At all.

I’ve always surmised the RITAS were a bit of a popularity contest, and this year I KNOW they are. Combined with the utter lack of diversity in the finalists – an egregious act – and I’m seriously considering whether the award really means anything at all anymore. I read two absolutely wonderful books that featured h/h as people of color (POC). I graded them sososososo high, too. Know what? Neither of them finaled. I rated one truly horrible book ( so many misplaced modifiers, spelling and tense mistakes) low and know what? It finaled. After finding out about how un-diverse the awards are, I stopped feeling sorry for myself about not finaling. Some amazeballs POC writers have never been given the honor of finaling or winner either, so who am I to have a pity party??!!

But as far as entering in the future, I give up. Truly.

I’m trying to chalk up this feeling of inadequacy and apathy to a passing funk, seasonal affect disorder, and not having a  vacation away in years. I’m trying really hard, as it happens.

Maybe I’ll come out of this stronger and more determined than ever.

That’s the hope anyway.

I didn’t write this as a subtle means of begging for positive reinforcement, or a way of garnering sympathy in the hopes people will buy my books. I may craft for a hobby, but believe me, I’m not crafty that way.

I simply wanted to put my thoughts and feelings down on paper and try and make some sense of why I’m feeling down in the dumps, writing-wise when so many other wonderful things ARE happening for me in my new career. I’ve finaled and even won other contests this year; I’m about to sign with a new publishing company ( more on that later!) and I recently was offered contracts for two books I’ve submitted to my first publisher.

So, life really is good, career-wise for me. I have to chalk this feeling of worthlessness and crabbiness up to winter.

I blame everything else that happens to me on the weather, so why not this, too? heehee

Any hoo…thanks for listening.

~ Peg

 

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I bet you didn’t know…..

Great teaser title, right?! Hee Hee

So here’s what you didn’t know about me: Before I wrote romantic fiction, I wrote more…morbid…stuff. I had a slew of short stories published in the suspense genre. You can see them listed if you scroll down to the FICTION part of my Publications page.

Any hoo. Let’s move to the present.

I recently re-energized a short story I’d written almost 2o years ago and submitted it to Long and Short Reviews. They have a short story submissions page, so I entered the re-tooled story to their contest a few weeks. And guess what? I won!!!

THE HOUSE ON CRIMSON STREET is a creepy ( to me, anyway) story of an elderly lady who rents out rooms. And since I like cooking so much, there’s an underlying cooking theme threaded throughout the story. It’s fairly short, so if you want to take a few minutes and read it, here’s the link: THOCS

And, because this is L&SR and they never do anything NOT well, they also made a cover for the story:
Can I tell you how in love I am with this depiction of the house?? It’s beyond perfect.

So, if you want to get a glimpse into the less romantic, more unsavory part of my brain, this is a good place to start.

Just sayin’ ~Peg

And when I’m not writing scary stuff, you can find me writing romance here :

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

 

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I love to read, but…

Yesterday, my writing friend, author Holland Rae, wrote a blog post titled  Why I DNF. I highly recommend you click on that link and read it.

Now, for those of you who don’t now what DNF means, it stands for DID NOT FINISH. Anyone who has judged the RITA awards has seen these 3 letters mentioned over and over again the past year in the judging instructions and online. To the regular world, the letters are for readers who have failed to finish a book. Not because of time constraints, but for reasons that run the gamut from not being on board with the subject matter, to hating the mealy mouthed, weak heroine. I’ve picked up books after reading the back blurb, thinking I was getting one story, and when I started reading, was given an entirely different one. This kind of publishing bait and switch isn’t common, but does happen. I think I’m getting a romantic comedy about a run away heiress and the private eye sent after her to bring her back, and once I get into the story it’s really about a spoiled bitch who doesn’t deserve to live, or the hero is a misogynistic bore.

I stop reading. Really, I’ll never get that hour I wasted back now and don’t feel I want to invest any more of the little time I have left to finish the dopey story.

I picked up a book recently by an author that I’ve read before and enjoyed and that was touted as romantic suspense and there was – literally – nothing suspenseful or romantic about the plot. The story  crammed as much sex into the pages as the author could while the h/h were being followed by a stalker. Sex in a tiny car, in a public bathroom ( yuk! Just…yuk), under a desk, in a closet. If the book had been marketed properly and not labeled a romantic suspense, I might have passed on it at the get-go. I have a large list of one-click authors, though, and she was among them, so I never really delved into the blurb.

I’ve stopped reading books and tossed them into the recycling pile, not even the donate to the public library pile because I didn’t think anyone deserved to waste their time on  poorly written, boring stories.

Judgmental, thy name is Peggy, I know.

In Holland’s well written article, she states,

  • “I…will finish problematic or frustrating reads because it teaches me how to avoid making the same mistakes. As an author, I think it’s important to read books that aren’t perfect so we can perform more effectively in our own stories.”

That is such a valid point, and I agree with it 100%…in principle. When I was first starting out in my fiction writing career, I did commit to finishing all the books I read, even though some of them were awful. Learning what not to do is as important as learning what to do, and this was my validation. Nowadays, though, I simply don’t have the time to devote more to a book that just hasn’t captured me in the first 3 or four chapters.

The deal breakers for me about whether to DNF a book or carry on til the end to see if it gets any better ( and really, haven’t we all done that?) are as follows:

The characters curse a lot.

I know this is kind of dumb, but I hate watching a movie where every other word is the f-bomb. Use our beautiful language to paint a picture, writers, and not depend on expletives to do it for you!!

The sex is all Insert A into Slot B, lather, rinse, repeat. 

I was a Registered Nurse in my before-writing life. I know how sex works. I don’t need an anatomy or a causal lesson in how to do it. What I do need – what I crave – is reading about the emotions the people involved in the act are going through while they are…acting.

Cruelty as a plot point. We’ve all read the redeemed hero. I happen to love a redeemed hero. What I don’t love – and what no one should – is a hero who starts out sadistic, mean, verbally or physically abusive, caustic, or nasty and then magically  – through the love of the heroine, someone who comes along to show him how to love for the very first time – changes into a sloppy puppy without ever finding out why he is the way he is. Dumb, just…dumb and lazy writing. I’m tossing that one down in chapter one.

Vapid, walk on secondary characters. 

 

(Holland and I agree on this one.)My real-life friends are fully formed human beings with working minds, opinions, and thoughts. They have jobs, families, hobbies, things they love and  things they hate. They were not put on this earth to walk into my life, act as a sounding board for my choices, and then walk out again. Another toss in the recycle pile if I find this in a book.

Voice.

(this is another point I have in common with Holland). I like to read books written in all points of view. First, third, revolving, omniscient. If the story is solid and the characters are well formed, the voice (or  POV) the story is told in shouldn’t be a negative factor. I know someone who says he/she never reads anything that is written in first person. Suffice it to say she isn’t reading anything of mine, then. But back to my point. If a writer has decided on telling his/her story in first person, that characters’s voice better be the best one for the job. I don’t want to read an historical romance in first person where the heroine states, Lord Suchanass was a total tool last night at Lady Fatass’s shindig. Um…no. Just…no. That’s a DNF straight into the garbage, never mind recycling. Having said that, if an author is going to use revolving first or third person, she/he better make sure the person speaking is immediately identifiable and doesn’t sound like every other person in the book. I’ve truthfully had to start a chapter over because I thought I was in the heroine’s POV when I was actually in the hero’s. There was no distinction between the two voices. That’s just poor writing at its core, peeps.

I need to own up to this: my DNF pile has grown exponentially as I’ve had more of my own books published. As stated, I simply don’t have the time to waste on a book if it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do on page one or in the first chapter: capture the reader’s ( ME!) attention. I hope I’ve learned to write that way. I’d hate to be on anyone’s DNF list/pile.

If I have been on yours…have pity on my fragile ego and don’t ever tell me! I’m better off not knowing.

~Peg

When I’m not reading you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

 

 

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The Wearing O’the Green. #HappyStPatricksDay #kissmeImIrish

It’s no secret I’m almost 100% Irish extraction. I didn’t need to spit in the Ancestry.com cup to know that. I did anyway and the results came back 98% Irish with 2% some obscure Middle European.

I’m disregarding that 2% because, really, why bother?

So, like I said, it’s no secret I’m of Irish extraction. When I was a kid people would tell my mother I had the map of Ireland stamped on my face. By that they meant my pale skin, dark hair, light eyes and plethora of facial freckles denoted I was a member of the Old Sod. I still have that pale skin and light eyes. The hair went gray at 16 so it’s been many shades since I was a kid, settling on some kind of ashy blonde mix right now. And for years I tried to bleach the hated freckles away with Porcelana fade cream. ( I have since stopped doing that, having embraced my freckles and heritage a while back).

I love my Irish roots. Truly. While I may not crave corned beef and cabbage ( ick) and I don’t drink beer ( hate the taste), I am a stalwart Daughter of Erin. I even marched in the NY City St. Patrick’s Day parade for years while I was in college. This is a of shot me at the parade holding my school banner when I was a senior.

The picture is grainy because I had to copy it from my yearbook, but I’m the second one in from the left with the glasses, short curly hair ( I was still dying it black back then), and total glee on my face despite the fact it was 34 degrees that day and raining non-stop.

There’s a saying that everyone is Irish on St. Paddy’s day. If you’re lucky enough to really have some Irish in your DNA, then yay! Welcome to the club. If not, then take advantage of this great day and become an honorary member. If you want to know the history behind the celebration of St. Patrick, do a Google search and find out why he was made a Saint and the reason Irishman are so keen on celebrating him.

For me, I’m gonna go make a couple of loaves of Irish soda bread and put on something with a bit’o green in it.

Happy St. Patricks Day ~ Peg

Looking for me? When I’m not celebrating the special days of Irish Saints, I’m usually here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

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